Republican National Convention Leaves Online Gambling Ban out of Party Platform
The Republican National Convention ended on Thursday night with one major omission. For the first time since the 1996, the RNC’s platform did not call for a national ban on online gambling.
Since 1997 was the first year when a real money Internet poker site first launched, the omission of an anti-online gambling plank in the RNC’s platform is a radical departure. For the first time since iGaming began, the Republicans do not want it ban.
Support of Anti-Online Gambling Legalization
Sheldon Adelson is a supporter of Donald Trump, who has had fundraising problems. Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, Donald Trump’s VP choice, is also a strong supporter of Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA).
While many see RAWA as a dead letter, Sheldon Adelson continues to support the legislation. As late as May 2016, Adelson’s senatorial proxy, Sen. Lindsey Graham, slipped the RAWA’s anti-online gambling ban into a 141-page US Senate Appropriations Bill.
That language was taken out of the U.S. House’s version of the same appropriations bill, or else RAWA would be the law of the land today. To see the GOP’s assembly step away from RAWA is a clear rejection of Adelson’s ideas on gambling.
Donald Trump’s Fundraising Problems
The decision is especially notable, because GOP donor Sheldon Adelson is more pivotal to the Republican’s 2016 presidential campaign than ever before. One of the first people Donald Trump sought out after his Thursday night acceptance speech was Adelson. The Adelsons posed for a photo op in the minutes after the speech.
The Trump campaign’s fundraising has been a matter of panic for the rank-and-file of the Republican Party this year. Republicans traditionally have the support of big money donors from corporate interests and old money wealth in America. Financial support does not seem forthcoming in 2016, as the biggest contributors seem concerned by Donald Trump’s economic plans.
Promiment Never Trumpers
The Koch Brothers have been the biggest donors in American politics over the past ten years. They said in 2014 they would spend $900 million on Republican causes in 2016. Charles and David Koch do not support Donald Trump and have indicated they would not fund his campaign. Some have speculated the Koch Brothers see Hillary Clinton’s economic positions to be more in their interests than Trump’s.
New mega-donor Paul Singer is more actively opposed to Trump than the Koch Brothers. The New Yorker and Politico have discussed how Paul Singer was putting together a donor network on the model of the Koch family, presumably for Republican causes.
The same media has tied Paul Singer to the “Never Trump” Movement. Paul Singer’s huge new network of contributors appear to be supporting Trump’s opponents in the GOP ranks.
Sheldon Adelson’s Influence
With so many key fundraisers against him, Donald Trump raised $3.1 million in contributions in May 2015. Hillary Clinton raised $42 million in the same month — 14 times more than Trump. Bloomberg News speculated that the differences in the SuperPAC money was even starker.
Therefore, Sheldon Adelson’s support is key for Trump’s campaign. No one spent more on the 2012 Presidential Election than Adelson, who is thought to have spent $90 million. The common speculation is the casino billionaire plans to spend $100 million on Republicans in 2016.
As a gaming mogul, Sheldon Adelson’s economic well-being is less tied to international trade than the Koch Brothers or Paul Singer. A man who is friends with the showy fellow gaming executive, Steve Wynn, also might be less offended by Donald Trump’s brashness and self-promotion.
$100 Million Bet on Donald Trump
Thus, Sheldon Adelson is seen as the one man with the resources and motivation to fund the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. As Trump was cinching the GOP nomination in May 2016, news stories appeared that long-time Adelson spokesman Andy Abboud was planning a Trump SuperPAC. In recent weeks, it was said that Adelson was opening his purse strings for Trump and was prepared to spend $100 million.
At the convention on Wednesday night, GOP maverick Ted Cruz was supposed to sit in Adelson’s skybox after his now-famous speech. After Sen. Cruz snubbed Trump, Adelson refused to allow inside his private room, because it would be offensive to GOP nominee. When Trump learned later, he went to thank Sheldon Adelson and posed for a photo with the Adelsons.
As Donald Trump famously said, people do not make big donations, unless they want something. With such a close connection, it is important that the Republicans are not supporting a federal online gambling ban. Sheldon Adelson has spent a lot of money these past two years to pass Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA), which would ban online gambling in all 50 states.
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